Gutierrez ‘comfortable’ with tire challenge

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Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez feels comfortable with the challenge posed by the new Pirelli tires, although the Mexican admitted he has more work to do.

“There is a certain tire management thing, the new tire run, where you have to compromise certain sectors to get the third sector right. I think this compromise is one of the things I need to work on.

“To be honest it was not that difficult,” said Gutierrez when asked by the media about getting used to the new tires. “Once you get a good understanding of the tires, there’s a possibility to manage them and I feel very comfortable with that.”

Gutierrez ran for the final time in Barcelona on Saturday, with teammate Nico Hulkenburg closing the test on Sunday. He finished a strong sixth yesterday, ahead of former teammate Sergio Perez and Red Bull’s Mark Webber.

“We had also good laps in the morning, good new tire session, and good race simulation in the afternoon. For me, for my experience was a very positive day.”

Winter testing will have given Gutierrez time to accustom himself with the Sauber C32 as well as the new tires, and he will be hoping to impress on his Grand Prix debut in two weeks time. His only previous Grand Prix experience came in Friday practice for the 2012 Indian Grand Prix, where he finished in a lowly 20th place.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024
IndyCar
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An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”